Monday, April 25, 2022

Ilango Adigal

ILANGO ADIGAL (perhaps late 2nd or early 3rd century CE)

Ilango Adigal was a monk of the Jain sect; a prince of the Chera dynasty of Kerala, India; and a poet traditionally credited with writing Silappatikaram, one of the Five Great Epics of Tamil literature. Its 5,730 lines of poetry tells a tragic love story about an ordinary couple, Kannaki and her husband Kovalan. One scholar has said it is to the Tamil culture what the Iliad is to the Greek. In a prologue, Ilango Adigal identifies himself as the brother of a famous king named Senguttuvan--but Ilango may in fact be mythical. Anyway, his "biography" says he was a prince who chose to forgo the royal life; internal evidence suggests instead the Silappatikaram was written by a Jaina scholar, and that a more likely date for the epic is the 5th or 6th century CE.


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